Review : Black Dog ‘Centenary’ Black Reserve

The Centenary, the youngest expression from the Black Dog family has had some stage presence in India for quite a while and though distilled and aged in Scotland, it is imported and then bottled locally. This effectively brings down the import customs considerably making them not only pocket friendly but also enabling cash registers to see green.

The brand entered the country not so long ago with heavy advertising and event sponsorship with celebrities endorsing the liquid gold. It still continues to be one of the fastest growing entry level scotches making greater inroads into the local markets with each passing day!

A mix of malt and grain carefully selected from the whisky rich regions of Scotland, matured for 8 years in a combination in American Oak and European Sherry Oak barrels comes the blend, now better known as the Black Reserve.

It’s origins are fairly recent, during the fag end of the 19th century -1883 to be on the dot. Sir Walter Millard, a Scotsman working with the then East India Company had set sail for Scotland, and it was during this time that he along with James MacKinlay, a second generation blender, created a special blend, which they named Millard Black Dog after the formers favorite salmon fishing fly, The Black Dog.

The bottle however is a bit of a let down; a rendezvous gone wrong between the Jack Daniels Old No 7 and the Gentleman Jack. Neither the height or the curves of the latter nor the rustic, commanding definitions of the No 7; just short, stout, and very much ‘rough around the edges’.

 

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ABV: 42.8%

Eye: Dark Gold

Nose : Begins wheat like, creamy and malty starting sweet like a bouquet of caramel, honey, chocolate and dark raisins. Smoke, burnt wood and a subtle hint of peat makes much of the foreground while bits of orange peels and an almond like nuttiness hovers in and around the backdrop.

Taste: Quite smooth, fruity and sweet with much of the vanilla and caramel pulling through. Shards of wood laced with a hint of spice and the tanginess of oranges is followed by dark grapes with a winey character typical of the sherry cask maturation.

Finish: Dry, sweet, pleasant and long.

The Centenary is quite smooth with a crudeness that is subtle and in all palatable. Most of its color comes from a medley of caramel E150 coloring and sherry cask maturation, being only aged for a while. But don’t let its adolescence fool you as it is quite flavorful with average complexity and charm.

A great choice for someone who wants to make inroads into whiskies, considering the blend to be nominally peaty with a decent plop of sherry.

Be it neat, gulped as a cocktail or downed with coke this drink does make ends meet. Considering the over priced nature of scotch in India, this makes for a fairly decent value for money dram that does do better than most spirits that are at a similar price range (and sometimes even higher).

Slainte!

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